Hot Cross Buns

It’s almost the end of April and I probably should have posted this recipe a couple of weeks ago, before Easter. Somehow though it just sat on my desk as a scrawled list of measurements and ingredients and never actually made it much further until now.

I don’t think that is really a problem because in my opinion there is nothing wrong with eating a hot cross bun at any time of year. Why have them just at Easter, which is a super strange holiday anyway?

I think that Easter is supposed to be about bunnies pooping out chocolate eggs next to a crucifixion, or something like that. I don’t believe in any of the religious part anyway and I don’t really eat a lot of chocolate, although I have nothing against rabbits particularly. What I do enjoy is the fact that we get a couple of public holidays and that is reason enough to celebrate with a tasty fruity bun (you can even leave the cross off if you want to).

A lot of hot cross bun recipes have mixed candied peel, but I didn’t have any of that so this one doesn’t. Cranberries are also probably not a very traditional addition but I like them and I thought they would be good… and they are!

The (slightly late) recipe

You will need:

  • Milk – 300ml
  • Strong flour – 500g
  • Sugar (Caster sugar if possible) – 75g
  • Salt – 1tsp
  • Dry yeast – 7g
  • Butter – 50g
  • Egg – 1
  • Sultanas – 150g
  • Dried cranberries – 80g
  • Apple – 1
  • Lemons – 2
  • Cinnamon – 2tsp
  • Ginger – 1tsp

and then you just:

  1. Heat the milk in a small pan until it is just boiling, then take it off of the heat and leave it to cool until it is hand temperature.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, yeast, butter and egg.
  3. While you are waiting for the milk to cool, core and finely chop the apple and zest the lemons.
  4. Slowly add the warm milk to bowl with the other mixed ingredients and mix until it forms a sticky dough, then add the sultanas, cranberries, chopped apple, lemon zest, cinnamon and ginger.
  5. Lightly flour the work surface and then tip the dough onto it and knead by stretching for five minutes, until it looks smooth and is quite elastic and springy.
  6. Put the dough into a clean bowl, cover and leave for about an hour until it has doubled in size.
  7. On a lightly floured surface (probably the same one as before) divide the dough into 12 pieces and form each one into a smooth ball. Arrange them on a lined or buttered baking tray so that they have a small gap between them, they will expand and they should be just touching when they do. Leave them for another hour to rise again.
  8. Put the oven on to heat up at 220°C (440°F).
  9. Just before you are ready to put the buns in the oven make a thick paste with flour and water and use a piping bag (or whatever else you have to hand) to draw a line across the rows of buns in each direction to form the crosses.
  10. Bake for about 20-25 minutes in the middle of the oven. The buns should be golden brown and the cross should still be whitish.

That’s about it, but if you feel like glazing your buns then you could melt a little apricot jam and brushing it over the warm buns to make them shiny and sticky.

Eat them as you wish. I like to cut them in half, lightly toast and spread with a load of butter then enjoy with a nice cup of coffee.

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